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Sandhi

As a final sound, a Visarga (ḥ) is adapted to the following word as an aspirate or sibilant.

a/ā Visarga

  • Final "aḥ" in front of not "a" vowel (ā, i/ī, u/ū, e/ai, o/au, ṛ/ṝ, ḷ/ḹ, ) loses the Visarga (spelled separately, together for compounds).
  • Final "aḥ" in front of "a" becomes "o" and loses the initial "a" (spelled separately, together for compounds).
  • Final "aḥ" in front of voiced consonants (g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/r/l/h) becomes "o" (spelled separately, together for compounds).
  • Final "āḥ" in front of vowels (a/ā, i/ī, u/ū, e/ai, o/au, ṛ/ṝ, ḷ/ḹ) loses the Visarga (spelled separately, together for compounds).
  • Final "āḥ" in front of voiced consonants (g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/r/l/h) loses the Visarga (spelled separately, together for compounds).
Final sound Initial sound Sandhi
-aḥ vowel-
(except "a", i.e.: ā, i/ī, u/ū, e/ai, o/au, ṛ/ṝ, ḷ/ḹ)
-a_vowel-
(No Visarga, there is a pause before the succeeding vowel.)
-aḥ a- -o_'
(No Visarga, the following "a" is left out in a pause.)
-aḥ voiced consonant-
(i.e.: g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/r/l/h)
-o_voiced consonant
(The "a" Visarga turns into an "o".)
-āḥ vowel- -ā_vowel-
(No Visarga, there is a pause before the succeeding vowel.)
-āḥ voiced consonant-
(i.e.: g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/r/l/h)
-ā_voiced consonant-
(No Visarga, there is a pause before the succeeding voiced consonant.)

Exception

Adverbs ending on "ar" such as punar (again), prātar (in the ) turn into "aḥ" according to one of the rules on final sounds. This final "aḥ-" becomes "ar-" NOT "a_[voiced consonant, semivowel, aspirate]"

In the 3rd person, nominative, singular, the personal pronoun "saḥ" and the demonstrative pronoun "eṣaḥ" always become "sa" or "eṣa" in front of all initial consonants (irrespective of whether they are hard or soft) and all vowels except for "a" (i. e. only the short "a"), i.e. they lose the Visarga. It is only in front of an "a" as an initial sound that they turn into "so_'..." or "eṣo_'...", i.e. the initial "a" is lost. Here, "saḥ" and "eṣaḥ" follow the usual rule.

nicht-a/ā-Visarga vor Stimmhaften

  • Final "ḥ" (except for "aḥ" / "āḥ") before a voiced sound except for "r" (a/ā, i/ī, u/ū, e/ai, o/au, ṛ/ṝ, ḷ/ḹ, g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/l/h,) becomes "r". (spelled together)
  • Final "ḥ" (except for "aḥ" / "āḥ") before "r" lengthens the preceding vowel (in case it was a short vowel) and loses its Visarga. (spelled together)
Final sound Initial sound Sandhi
-ḥ
(except for "aḥ" and "āḥ")
vowel-
(i.e.: a/ā, i/ī, u/ū, e/ai, o/au, ṛ/ṝ, ḷ/ḹ)
-r-vowel-
(The Visarga thus turns into "r".)
-ḥ
(except for "aḥ" and "āḥ")
voiced consonant-
(except for"r", i.e.: g/gh, j/jh, ḍ/ḍh, d/dh, b/bh, n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ, y/v/l)
-r-voiced consonant
(The Visarga thus turns into "r".)
-ḥ
(except for "aḥ" and "āḥ")
r- -long vowel-r-
(The vowel preceeding the Visarga is lengthened.)

Visarga preceding unvoiced sounds and fricatives

  • Final "ḥ" before c/ch adapts as a palatal fricative (ś). (spelled together)
  • Final "ḥ" before t/th adapts as a retroflex fricative (ṣ). (spelled together)
  • Final "ḥ" before ṭ/ṭh adapts as a dental fricative (s). (spelled together)
  • Final "ḥ" before k/kh adapts as Jihvāmūlīya (ḥ), a weak, guttural fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
  • Final "ḥ" before p/ph adapts as Upadhmānīya (ḥ), a weak, labial fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
  • Final "ḥ" before ś/ṣ/s adapts as Ūṣman (ḥ), a barely audible palatal, retroflex or dental fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
Final sound Initial sound Sandhi
-ḥ c/ch- -ś-c/ch-
-ḥ ṭ/ṭh- -ṣ-ṭ/ṭh-
-ḥ t/th- -s-t/th-
-ḥ k/kh- -ḥ_k/kh-
(Jihvāmūlīya, a guttural fricative)
-ḥ p/ph- -ḥ_p/ph-
(Upadhmānīya, a labial fricative)
-ḥ ś/ṣ/s- -ḥ_ś/ṣ/s-
(Ūṣman, a palatal, retroflex or dental fricative)

Visarga in front of k/kh, p/ph and fricative sounds remains but is pronounced as fricative diphthong

  • Final "ḥ" before k/kh adapts as Jihvāmūlīya (ḥ), a weak, guttural fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
  • Final "ḥ" before p/ph adapts as Upadhmānīya (ḥ), a weak, labial fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
  • Final "ḥ" before ś/ṣ/s adapts as Ūṣman (ḥ), a barely audible palatal, retroflex or dental fricative. (spelled separately, together for compound words)
Final sound Initial sound Sandhi
-ḥ k/kh- -ḥ_k/kh-
(Jihvāmūlīya, a guttural fricative)
-ḥ p/ph- -ḥ_p/ph-
(Upadhmānīya, a labial fricative)
-ḥ ś/ṣ/s- -ḥ_ś/ṣ/s-
(Ūṣman, a palatal, retroflex or dental fricative)

Pleaes note:

The Visarga before k, kh, p, ph, ś, ṣ, s, which remains after application of these rules, is prounounced as Jihvāmūlīya, Upadhmānīya or Ūṣman, an only weakly audible fricative at the place of articulation of the following sound.

As a table

For all those who love tables and charts. The same information again in the format of a neat and concise table.

āḥ aḥ(1) initial sound
ḥ_k/kh(2) āḥ_k/kh(2) aḥ_k/kh(2) k/kh
r-g/gh ā_g/gh o_g/gh g/gh
ś-c/ch āś-c/ch aś-c/ch c/ch
r-j/jh ā_j/jh o_j/jh j/jh
ṣ-ṭ/ṭh āṣ-ṭ/ṭh aṣ-ṭ/ṭh ṭ/ṭh
r-ḍ/ḍh ā_ḍ/ḍh o_ḍ/ḍh ḍ/ḍh
s-t/th ās-t/th as-t/th t/th
r-d/dh ā_d/dh o_d/dh d/dh
ḥ_p/ph(2) āḥ_p/ph(2) aḥ_p/ph(2) p/ph
r-b/bh ā_b/bh o_b/bh b/bh
r-n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ ā-n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ o_n/m/ṅ/ñ/ṇ n/m(ṅ/ñ/ṇ)
r-y/v ā_y/v o_y/v y/v
[lengthened vowel]-r ā_r o_r r
r-l ā_l o_l l
ḥ_ś/ṣ/s(2) āḥ_ś/ṣ/s(2) aḥ_ś/ṣ/s(2) ś/ṣ/s
r-h ā_h o_h h
r-vowel ā_vowel a_vowel not "a" vowel
r-a ā_a o_' a

Exceptions and notes:

(1) Adverbs ending on "ar" such as punar (again) and prātar (in the morning), are changed to "aḥ" according to the rule on final sounds. In front of voiced consonants, semivowels, aspirates and vowels, this "aḥ-" turns back into "ar-".

(2) In the 3rd person, nominative, singular, the personal pronoun "saḥ" and the demonstrative pronoun "eṣaḥ" always become "sa" or "eṣa" in front of all initial consonants (irrespective of whether they are hard or soft) and all vowels except for "a" (i. e. only the short "a"), i.e. they lose the Visarga. It is only in front of an "a" as an initial sound that they turn into "so_'..." or "eṣo_'...", i.e. the initial "a" is lost. Here, "saḥ" and "eṣaḥ" follow the usual rule.

(3) In front of k, kh the Visarga is prounounced as Jihvāmūlīya (weak guttural fricative), in front of ś, ṣ, s as Ūṣman (weakly audible palatal, retroflex or dental fricative) and in front of p, ph as Upadhmānīya (weak labial fricative).